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Boynton Beach actor with Down syndrome to make film debut in 'The Peanut Butter Falcon'

Posted at 12:38 PM, Aug 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-13 19:20:41-04

BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. — A Boynton Beach actor with Down syndrome is hitting the big screen and starring alongside an all-star cast in a new drama.

'The Peanut Butter Falcon' tells the adventurous story of a young man, played by Zack Gottsagen, who runs away from a nursing home to pursue his dream of becoming a professional wrestler.

Along the way, he forms an unlikely friendship with an outlaw, played by Shia LaBeouf, who becomes the young man's coach and ally.

"We fully were like, we have to figure out a way for Zack's talents to be seen by the world," said co-writer/director Tyler Nilson.

Gottsagen, who's making his feature film debut, graduated from the Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts in West Palm Beach as a theater major in 2004.

"We fully wrote a script for Zack," said Nilson. "We wanted to create a character and a story that was fully realized and three dimensional so he could come in and really give a performance."

Nilson told WPTV's Miranda Christian that Gottsagen has multiple accolades under his belt.

"He's also a phenomenal actor," said Nilson. "He's trained, he studied acting from middle school through college. He's just committed his life to being an entertainer and I think he was just ready."


On Tuesday night, a special screening of 'The Peanut Butter Falcon' will be held at 7:05 p.m. at the Cinemark Boynton Beach 14, located at 1151 North Congress Avenue.

Afterward, Gottsagen, along with the film's writers/directors, Nilson and Michael Schwartz, will host a Q&A session with the audience.

'The Peanut Butter Falcon' will open in theaters nationwide on Aug. 23. It also stars Dakota Johnson (50 Shades of Grey), Thomas Haden Church (Sideways), and John Hawkes (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri).